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While physics, chemistry, and biology are a norm at all schools, computer science is still a nascent subject. It is estimated that just 10 percent of American schools offer computer science, and only 19% of high school students graduate with the course under their belt. Seattle-based non-profit Code.org wants to change that by exposing every student in the world to this all important science that is the basis of the digital world we live in.
From December 7-11 millions of kids across the globe will spend at least sixty minutes learning the basics of computer science. Called Hour of Code, the initiative is designed to demystify the world of coding and inspire students of all backgrounds to consider a career in software engineering.
During the time, which can be scheduled at any time during the week, students of all ages can practice their programming skills using free tutorials created by Code.org programmers. The sessions that require no prior coding knowledge start with a brief discussion about computer science. Then begins the fun part - Coding! But if you think that means completing a tedious assignment, think again.The tutorials include fun projects like coding a Minecraft adventure, creating a Star Wars galaxy and even exploring the magic and beauty of ice with Frozen's Elsa and Anna.
It is no wonder that Hour of Code has grown into one of the biggest global learning events in just two short years. According to Code.org's founder Hadi Partovi, in 2013, the event attracted 15,000 schools, most in the USA. This year, the organization expects millions of students to participate in the over 190,000 sessions of Hour of Code events that are being planned in 180 countries around the world.
The initiative has also been adopted by corporations like Apple Inc, who will hold free coding workshops for kids on December 10. Other tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon Inc. have similar initiatives planned.
Though exposing students and educators to just an hour of coding annually may not seem like much Code.org says that impact has been profound. Since they began offering the event, over 200,000 teachers have signed up to teach Code.org’s Intro to Computer Science to over 6 million enrolled students. Code.org has also trained an additional 16,000 teachers to teach computer science to all grade levels.
Code.org is not the only organization attempting to encourage more kids to pursue computer science. The Computer Clubhouse Network has opened 100 Clubhouses around the world to introduce underserved students to the amazing world of programming. Museums are also joining in the effort. Boston -based Museum of Science is currently hosting an exhibit called The Science Behind Pixar, that demonstrates the science and technology behind the animated worlds of movies like Toy Story, Big Hero 6 and Inside Out.
To see how you can help your school join this exciting event check out: hourofcode.com.
Resources: hourofcode.com, huffingtonpost.com,ceclidaily.com,code.org